Oscar nominees hobnob three weeks ahead of Hollywood's big night

Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:49pm EST
 
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By Mary Milliken

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - This year's Oscar nominees gathered for the ultimate Hollywood power lunch on Monday in a celebration of the old adage "it's an honor just to be nominated" three weeks before the film industry's biggest night.

The annual Oscars nominees luncheon convened more than 200 contenders pursuing an Academy Award on March 2 - from 18-time nominee Meryl Streep for best actress in "August: Osage County" to Lupita Nyong'o, who won a best supporting actress nod for her first film role ever in "12 Years a Slave."

The eclectic group of movie stars, directors and technical wizards even boasted U2 frontman Bono, who lined up for the "class picture" thanks to his best song nomination for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."

While no one is foolish enough to look confident of a win before Academy members begin voting on Friday, Monday's luncheon was a chance to turn on the charm by praising the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the magic of Hollywood filmmaking.

"I'm going to celebrate no matter what," said Matthew McConaughey, the presumed frontrunner for best actor for his role as an unlikely AIDS activist in the low-budget "Dallas Buyers Club," for which he won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards.

"This is my first time nominated and if I ever get nominated again, who knows," he added. "But there will never be another first time, so I'm going to enjoy this."

Cate Blanchett, the favorite to win best actress for her role as a disgraced socialite in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," said this nomination "certainly took me by surprise."

"You're part unconscious when you're working deeply, but it's always a thrill, particularly because I've been away from the film industry for so long," Blanchett said.   Continued...

 
Nominees for the Academy Awards best actor category Matthew McConaughey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale and Bruce Dern (L-R) appear in a combination photo. REUTERS/Files